- Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
- Grasp the handles with a closed, neutral grip.
- Keep the elbows fully extended (with a slight bend in them) and allow the arms to hang at your sides.
- Stand with torso erect, keep a slight bend in the knees, and look straight ahead.
Upward movement/concentric phase:
- Shrug your shoulders, lifting the handles as high as possible while keeping your arms extended.
- Maintain the torso straight up and keep looking straight ahead.
Downward movement/eccentric phase:
- In a controlled fashion, slowly lower shoulders to bring the handles back to starting position.
FAQ'S & FACTS ABOUT Shrug
What Is A Shrug Machine?
Performing shrugs on a shrug machine targets the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle. This exercise is performed at a designated shrug machine.
The concentric portion of the lift is scapular elevation. The eccentric portion is scapular depression as the handles are lowered.
The purpose of the shrug machine is to strengthen and develop the upper fibers of the trapezius.
Why Do A Machine Shrug?
Shrugs are a staple exercise strengthen and develop the upper trapezius. Developing the upper fibers of the trapezius complements the aesthetics of the upper back as the upper fibers of the trapezius can be seen from the front, side and back of the body.
Machine shrugs allow the lifter to shrug with fists in a neutral position with arms at your sides. This may be a more comfortable shrugging position for lifters who may have a history of shoulder injury. The width of the handles on the shrug machine allows the lifter to perform shrugs with a wider grip. Targeting the upper trapezius from different grip widths and fist positions optimizes muscle fiber activation.
In addition to serving as an exercise that enhances the aesthetics of the upper back, machine shrugs also complement weightlifting and sport performance.
Anatomy Of A Machine Shrug
A flat and triangular muscle, the trapezius is the most superficial muscle of the posterior thorax. The superior (upper) fibers run downward to the scapula. The middle fibers run horizontally to the scapula. Its origin is located at the occipital bone, ligamentum nuchae, and spines of C7 and all thoracic vertebrae. Its insertion is located along the acromion and spine of the scapula and lateral region of the clavicle. The upper fibers elevate the scapula as in shrugging the shoulders. As a superficial muscle, developing the upper trapezius contributes to the overall aesthetics of the upper back.
The levator scapulae is located underneath the trapezius at the back and side of the neck. Its origin is located at the transverse process of C1-C4 and inserts into the medial border of the scapula. The levator scapulae assists the upper fibers of the trapezius with scapular elevation.
The deltoid, rhomboids, triceps brachii and biceps brachii stabilize the shoulder girdle as the arms are fully extended holding the handles. The rotator cuff muscles, particularly the supraspinatus, help to hold the humerus in place as the scapula elevates and depresses throughout the shrugging motion. The wrist flexors maintain the wrists rigid and stabilized throughout the exercise.
Variations Of A Machine Shrug
Dumbbell shrug, barbell shrug, hex bar shrug, Smith machine shrug, cable shrug.
How To Improve Your Machine Shrugs
Strategically varying your shrug exercises (e.g. barbell shrug, dumbbell shrug, cable shrug) can optimize muscle fiber recruitment of the upper trapezius. Over time, this will enhance the strength and hypertrophy of the trapezius muscle.
Focus on the concentric portion of the contraction, concentrating on squeezing as the shoulders shrug (imagine wanting to touch your ears with your shoulders).
Emphasis on eccentric contractions, prolonging the eccentric portion of the contraction, may also be incorporated in a training program focused on increasing strength. This should be implemented accordingly and with adequate muscle recovery as eccentric contractions cause substantial damage to muscle tissue.
It is important to note that your repetition and set volume will depend on your goals (e.g. strength, hypertrophy, muscular endurance). It is also important to allow adequate recovery days in between back and shoulder training days to allow muscles to repair.
Common Mistakes When Doing Machine Shrugs
Using momentum to lift the weight (e.g. jerking the torso, elbows, or shoulders for assistance) minimizes the potential of force production of the involved muscles and can increase the risk for injury. It is important that both the eccentric and concentric phases of the exercise are controlled.
Bending the elbows during the exercise minimizes the activation of the trapezius and places greater emphasis on the biceps muscle group. Keep arms fully extending with just a slight bend in the elbow to ensure maximal activation of the trapezius.
Tucking the chin into the chest during this exercise can increase the risk of neck injury. It is important to keep the neck in a neutral position, looking straight ahead, to ensure proper and safe technique.
Injuries Or Ailments & Their Effects Regarding Machine Shrugs
If the lifter has a compromised range of motion with the shoulder joint and/or performs this exercise incorrectly, this exercise can increase the risk of injury and/or exacerbate a previous injury.
If proper technique and recovery are not adhered to rotator cuff injuries and/or lower back injuries may occur.